VW proposed a voluntary recall, which would allow car-owners to choose whether to repair the cars. The proposal was rejected by the German Motor Transport Authority, triggering VW to recall all affected cars in the 28-nation European Union.
German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt stated:
“VW is ordered … to remove the software from all vehicles and to take appropriate measures to ensure that the emissions rules are fulfilled.”
VW has admitted installing software designed to cheat emissions tests on about 11 million vehicles worldwide. The cars emit significantly less toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) during emissions testing than on the road.
Due to the trade-off between emissions and performance, it is likely that vehicles with smaller 1.6-liter diesel engines will need to be retrofitted. However, the Associated Press reports that parts may not be available until September 2016.
The company has also recalled about 2,000 cars in China. No recall has been issued in the United States, where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulators are still working on a solution.